It’s already been a year full of stories that shed light on issues of sexual harassment and abuse, and many women have come out in the open and spoken boldly, sharing experiences with the world. Whether, it’s the Harvey Weinstein case or the US Olympic team doctor, Larry Nassar. No one would have known about these incidents if these women didn’t have the courage to speak out!
Taking forward this legacy is this group of women from Bengaluru, who shares stories of the relationships women have with their vaginas through a play called The Vagina Monologues. These every day stories illuminate society’s attitudes, ignorance and treatment of women everywhere, even today. A play that was written by Eve Ensler in 1996, is still so relevant even today. The play is performed yearly as part of the V-Day campaign — a movement dedicated to ending violence against women, and will be staged on February 11 at Alliance Française.
We speak to these ladies to get a perspective on #Metoo campaign raging and more.
Champa Saha, a theatre actor and an inclusive practice consultant who is one of the oldest members in the group speaks about how art plays such an important role in bringing out social issues. “Even though I do personally question myself if it is enough to bring out these issues in the form of an art or a performance but would personally reaching out to women would be a better option? If you take for example the city of Bengaluru, and did a survey on 10 domestic helpers, you would find out that most of them have somewhere in their life gone through some sort of sexual assault either by their own husbands or family members. And these are the voices that go unheard and it’s not fair!”
Nishu Dikshit, the director shares about the time they started auditioning for the play, and the #Metoo campaign had just come out, and many actors also started openly shared about such experiences. “We realised that these voices together were so strong and played such a significant role in society, and that none of us stood alone. There was so much positive noise around putting out an open letter to your suffering, and realising that the stage feminism stand at the moment is quite complicated, we needed to make this show happen. So, that more voices can be heard.”
Another actor, Anushka Nair shares her thoughts on the patriarchal society and women’s role in it, “As a performer, being a part of The Vagina Monologues is such an honour because I believe sharing and hearing stories are an essential part of healing and social change. As women living in a largely patriarchal society we need to have our voices heard. Silence has reigned for far too long and it’s time for a revolution. The #Metoo movement also originates from the idea of being heard and only with awareness can change begin.”